This family-friendly recipe can be made ahead or even made with leftovers.
There is nothing fancy about this simple yet satisfying dish, right down to the easy preparation. A good quality store-bought sauce like Muir Glen’s organic Fire Roasted Tomato is more than acceptable for this dish. The same is true for the cheeses. Chopped meatballs, sausage, or vegetables may be added for extra flavor. Be sure not to overcook the pasta since it will continue to cook and soften while baking. Al dente rules the day. This is just the recipe to make if you have leftovers from my Spaghetti & Meatballs. If you want to skip the meatballs, you can make Baked Spaghetti Marinara instead.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife or box grater; dry measuring cup; strainer or colander; large mixing bowl; stock pot or Dutch oven; wooden spoon or spatula; casserole or baking dish; aluminum foil
1 pound spaghetti 3 cups tomato sauce (or one 24-28 oz jar) 1 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed (1/4-inch) or grated 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups meatballs, miniature or cut into quarters (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the instructions on the package. Strain and rinse under cold water to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another. Shake off excess water and transfer the noodles to a mixing bowl.
3. Add the tomato sauce to the noodles and toss well to coat evenly. Add in mozzarella cheese and 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese and stir until evenly incorporated. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil.
“ILOC tip: The dish may be prepared in advance through Step 3 and refrigerated, but then it should be covered tightly in plastic until Step 4 at which point foil must replace the plastic for baking.”
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbling and cheese has melted.
5. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.